Barangay Ginebra San Miguel once again wrecked havoc on Meralco in the start of their latest playoff encounter Wednesday night with a 96-79 victory in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.
Stanley Pringle was among those who ignited the Ginebra attack after playing the role of closer multiple times inside the bubble, finishing with 19 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals as the Kings drew first blood in the best-of-five affair.
Also key was Scottie Thompson, whose all-around play netted him 13 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Four others scored in double figures even as Japeth Aguilar played important in the contest that was tight until late in the second quarter when Ginebra was able to pull away.
Ginebra’s team defense was also key in limiting the production of Meralco’s main weapons that resulted in a contest which saw the Kings led by a high of 25 points.
“It was really, to me, a great team game,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone. “Stanley played great and he deserved to be Player of the Game but there were a lot of contributions out there.”
Rookie Arvin Tolentino drew praise from Cone for being a floor spacer while also scoring 13 points, Aljon Mariano had 11 points and seven rebounds while LA Tenorio added 11 points despite a 3-of-11 shooting with seven rebounds and four assists.
Prince Caperal was the other Ginebra with double-digit scoring with 10 while Aguilar was also efficient and came up with nine points and eight rebounds.
Ginebra, five days removed from eliminating Rain or Shine in the quarterfinal, continued its playoff mastery over a Meralco side that ended the Philippine Cup title reign of San Miguel Beer by winning twice in the quarterfinals.
Allein Maliksi scored 24 points and Chris Newsome added 13 but Baser Amer had another miserable playoff shooting against Ginebra, going 1-of-10 from the field for only two points.
Cliff Hodge only had four points and three rebounds and Bong Quinto just two points on 1-of-9 shooting.
Meralco was behind 37-34 in the second when Ginebra closed the quarter on a 11-2 run to take a 48-36 halftime lead.
Pringle and Thompson had 11 points apiece during the first two quarters.
GINEBRA 96 — Pringle 19, Thompson 13, Tolentino 13, Mariano 11, Caperal 10, Aguilar 9, Tenorio 4, Dillinger 4, Devance 2, Balanza 2, Dela Cruz 2, Chan 0, R. Aguilar 0.
MERALCO 79 — Maliksi 24, Newsome 13, Hugnatan 9, Black 8, Hodge 4, Jamito 4, Almazan 3, Quinto 2, Amer 2, Faundo 2, Salva 2, Caram 0, Jackson 0.
Quarters: 21-17, 48-36, 71-54, 96-79.